Mixed Reviews for Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play

Posted by on Jan 18, 2017 in Information | 4 comments

Mixed Reviews for Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play

Throughout the past several years, both moms and doulas have loved the Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper. It’s a versatile and inexpensive piece of baby equipment that make babies feel extremely cozy and comfortable, and since it’s angled most babies seem to sleep more soundly when in it. Millions have been sold and they are used every day with new babies throughout the United States. For most babies, the Rock ‘n Play will not adversely effect them.

Unfortunately, however, its use has recently been linked to some developmental and medical issues in infants, such as Torticollis and Plagiocephaly:

Torticollis – Congenital or positional, Torticollis is a shortening or stiffness in the neck muscles.

How does this relate to the Rock n’ Play?

  • Congenital Torticollis: Babies with this diagnosis tend to get worse when they sleep in the Rock ‘n Play. Unless the doulas or moms make a point to move the baby’s head to another position, babies with Congenital Torticollis always sleep with their head settled into the same position.
  • Positional Torticollis: Inclined positions allow gravity to pull the baby into a position of preference and to get nice and comfy in this position. Over time, this limited movement can cause Positional Torticollis, which the baby develops after birth.

Plagiocephaly – Torticollis can cause Plagiocephaly, or “Flat Head Syndrome.”

  • Positional Plagiocephaly has been linked to Torticollis and has also been linked to sleeping in a Rock ‘n Play, as well as other angled baby equipment.

So, what is our solution? At After the Stork, we no longer recommend that new parents purchase the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. We now recommend the Fisher Price Soothing Motion Bassinet (approx. $100 – $150 on Amazon.com). There are several reasons we prefer to recommend this item:

  • The bassinet provides a flat sleep surface.
  • It is well ventilated.
  • Calming vibrations make it a a great option in the middle of the night to be used if you need to when the baby is not settling.
  • There is an overhead mobile.
  • Light features project stars onto the ceiling.
  • Serene songs or sound provide soothing white noise.

In addition to just a sleeper, the last three features above can become a wonderful part of your baby’s bedtime routine!

Want to discover other products After the Stork recommends? Check out our Product Recommendations page.

4 Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this news about the Rock n Play. I Was looking for something to purchase for a Baby shower and this caught my attention. When I had young babies, any equipment that let me put the baby down and they were happy, was a good addition to the make a happy house.

    • Thanks for your feedback, and we are so glad you found this post with our recommendation. The Soothing Motion Bassinet would be an excellent baby shower gift and a wonderful present for any new mom!

  2. I purchased the rock n’ play two weeks ago specifically for the incline for my baby’s reflux, and it’s been a life saver. Your new recommendation doesn’t look like it offers the inclined sleeping position, so I’m still going to use the rock n’ play. Also I have noticed my 9 week old moves her head no matter what position she sleeps in, so no worries on my part for a flat head. She also only sleeps half the night in the rock n’ play – she moves into bed with me for the 2/3am feeding, then stays with me. Are there any other safe options you’d recommend for reflux that keeps the infant angled?

    • Hi Sabrina,

      Thanks for reaching out! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep on a flat surface, not on an incline. For the reflux, after a feeding hold your baby upright for 20-30 minutes (which I know difficult to do in the middle of the night). Make sure all burps are out and lay your baby flat. If your baby has severe reflux, transition them from an angled surface to a flat surface when they are able to.

      As doulas, in the past we were using the Rock N’ Play Sleeper and recommending it to parents for years. However, there is a lot of negative feedback from pediatricians and parents when it’s not used as a transitional space but as a permanent sleep space. We have found that, now that we recommend a flat surface, we are getting babies to sleep through the night much quicker than we did with the Rock N’ Play (even with reflux). Sometimes, what seems like it’s working for the short term is really sabotaging your efforts in the long run. Check with your pediatrician for further recommendations.

      – Georgette

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